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June 12 struggle not Yoruba project – Soyinka

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said that reducing the worth of the June 12, 1993 presidential election struggle to ethnic garb was lamentable.

Moshood Abiola won the election but the results were annulled by former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.

In a statement on Tuesday titled “Democracy Day Primer (1),” Soyinka said that even before June 12 was pronounced as Democracy Day, several persons had reduced it to a struggle for ethnic significance.

“Next, I found it equally lamentable that anyone should attempt to reduce the June 12 struggle to that of an ethnic project. It is a depressing travesty of the realities, a denial of the existence of a nation’s collective sense of justice and its tenacity in pursuit of that objective.

“No one denies that the immediate family of a victim of robbery feels the pangs of dispossession more keenly than others. The truth, however, remains that the entirety of the compound itself was violated, arrogantly and contemptuously dispossessed,” he said.

Soyinka said his decision not to partake in this year’s June 12 celebrations was part of his move to withdraw from public space.

“A resolution that I first half seriously injected into encounters over five years ago. That absence applies, not to the official celebration alone – of which I have never been a part anyway – but to the annual ritual by civic groups, a ritual of both tributes and defiance that has been unflaggingly observed till now,” he said.

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